Knowing the role your ship type plays within a certain game is crucial to not only your own success but the success of the team. Each ship type has an overarching role that it fits into and often times, ships or lines within that type have niche roles of their own. In this article I will go over the individual types and how they should fit within a game. I will also mention some of the niche play styles that certain lines (premiums excluded) hone in on as a way to highlight some of the differences. Keep in mind, many of these niche roles only start to appear in later tiers. I’ll start with destroyers.

Destroyers

Destroyers are probably the most versatile type in the game so far as overall abilities. They are also some of the most diverse starting from little ninja torpedo assassins and going all the way to flame throwing speed demons. They can be broken down into 3 separate groups, which are a testament to their capabilities – gun boat, torpedo boat, hybrid. Some of the highlights of the roles that they should be fulfilling include:

  1. Spotting
  2. Capping
  3. Smoke clearing
  4. Area denial (with torpedoes)
  5. Finishing off low health ships
  6. Setting fires/causing floods

Japanese Destroyers – Torpedo Boat

  • Torpedo and stealth specialties – good for area denial, spotting, flooding and ninja attacks
  • Some of the fastest – great for contesting and taking caps

Japanese Destroyers – Gun Boat (alternate line)

  • Excellent guns with quarter caliber HE pen as opposed to 1/6
  • Mediocre torpedo capabilities due to one torpedo launcher but capable of having the consumable torpedo reload boost
  • Higher detectability than torpedo boat counterparts

American Destroyers – Hybrids (particularly late tiers)

  • Good concealment and great guns – great for hunting IJN DD’s, smoke clearing, settings fires and finishing off low health ships
  • Decent torpedoes – lower tiers are most apt for defensive or surprise torpedo attacks; high tiers more offensive and long range attacks
  • Higher tiers can have defensive AA – good for protecting self and nearby ships from CV strikes

Russian/Soviet Destroyers – Gun Boats

  • Second fastest in ship type – great for getting into an area first but should be helped by another nation’s DD due to high detectability
  • Excellent guns – Great for setting fires and harassing anything, especially other destroyers

German Destroyers – Hybrids

  • Fastest torpedo reload – Great for area denial in a cap or choke point
  • Excellent guns plus hydro at high tiers – Perfect for hunting other destroyers, especially in smoke
  • Great first line defense against torpedoes for your team as a result of hydro

Pan-Asian Destroyers – Hybrids

  • Best overall smoke among the destroyers (long lasting with a cool down only slightly longer than it’s duration)
  • Unique deep water torpedoes – Hard hitting like the IJN torpedoes but are useless against other destroyers
  • American guns – High arcs, great rate of fire
  • Decent concealment – similar to their American counterparts

British Destroyers – Hybrids – Destroyer hunters

  • Some of the slowest at their tier but typically have excellent concealment (except Tier X Daring)
  • Great guns with excellent AP for the caliber
  • Excellent fire starting capabilities for the gun caliber – Tiers 9 & 10 require the IFHE due to their 119mm guns which cannot pen other DD’s with their HE
  • Unique short duration, short cool-down smoke
  • British single-fire torps are great for countering bow in ships
  • Short range, long duration hydro can make this ships great for screening from other torps or pushing most other DD’s in smoke

French Destroyers – Gun Boats

  • The fastest boats in the game, particularly with speed boost
  • High caliber guns with a relatively long reload though you have access to the main battery reload boost consumable – great for harassing battleships
  • High detectability with no smoke – speed is your best bet

Cruisers

Cruisers fill more specific roles than destroyers and can be broken down into two categories – Heavy Cruisers and Light Cruisers (CA’s and CL’s). While many cruisers have torpedoes, they are usually for self defense or surprise attack situations due to the limited range of cruiser torpedoes in relationship to their detectability. However, the uniqueness of cruisers tends to lie in their consumables which are typically some combination of smoke, hydro, radar and defensive AA. As a result of their consumable choices, a player’s choice in specialization can depend on their load out. Here are some of the roles that a cruiser can play in the course of a battle as well as nation specific role suggestions:

  1. Air Defense platform
  2. Destroyer Hunter
  3. Capital Vessel support
  4. High DPM with guns and fires
  5. Harassment of battleships

Japanese Cruisers

  • Great fire starters
  • Heavy broadsides with AP for cruisers
  • Strong torpedoes, though poor angles and short range
  • Very stealthy, even for Heavy cruisers

American Cruisers – Heavy

  • Good fire starters – low tiers have lower chance but higher fire rate while higher tiers get high chance but lower fire rate
  • Dangerous broadsides to both battleships and cruisers in close quarters battles – low shell velocity makes AP a bad choice for long range
  • High shell arcs make them excellent for using islands as cover
  • Radar at higher tiers – Decent range but long duration
  • Some of the best AA platforms in the game tier for tier, especially when paired with Defensive AA

American Cruiser – Light

  • Good fire starters – Low caliber necessitates IFHE at higher tiers but rate of fire helps if you have a 13 point or less captain
  • High shell arcs make them excellent for using islands as cover
  • Radar at higher tiers – Decent range (though less than the heavy line) but long duration
  • Some of the best AA platforms in the game tier for tier, especially when paired with Defensive AA

German Cruisers

  • Some of the best AP of all the cruisers
  • Excellent AA capabilities at higher tiers
  • Has the best cruiser hydro in the game
  • Has turtleback armor scheme – great against cruisers, not so much for battleships
  • All tiers have torpedoes

Russian/Soviet Cruisers

  • High velocity AP makes them great for long range broadsides
  • The longest range radar in the game at high tiers
  • HE in all tiers has good chance of fire
  • All but tier X Moskva are equipped with torpedoes

British Cruisers – Light Cruisers

  • Only line that has smoke
  • SAP/AP only firing guns
  • High rate of fire
  • Unique, single fire torpedoes
  • Equipped with hydro for enemy torpedo detection while in smoke
  • Good to excellent AA platforms

French Cruisers

  • Only cruisers with speed boost
  • Some of the fastest cruisers in game
  • Excellent fire starting capabilities
  • The Henri IX (Tier X) has highest caliber guns of ALL current cruisers (240 mm) – can over match the bows of RN cruisers
  • Tends to have spaced armor which can help prevent citadel damage from other cruisers

Italian Cruisers

Coming Soon

Battleships

Battleships are the heavy hitters of the lot. They are capable of removing ANY other ship from the battle in a single salve – albeit usually at close range. Though they are the biggest ships in the game with the largest hit point pools, they tend to be the most vulnerable due to their size, lack of maneuverability and slow fire rate. This does not make them defenseless however. As a direct result of their size, they tend to have formidable secondary guns, capable of doing significant damage if you stray within range. Though they all have big guns, some specialize in an area more than others. Below are their general roles as well as their specialties by nation.

  1. Tanking damage for your team
  2. Supporting a push by destroyers and cruisers
  3. Dealing high damage or outright deleting broadside cruisers or other battleships

Japanese Battleships

  • Tier for tier tend to have the largest caliber guns
  • Excellent secondaries, particularly at higher tiers
  • Tend to have the longest range tier for tier
  • Some of the fastest battleships tier for tier
  • Best long range shooters due to their vertical dispersion
  • Yamato can overmatch the armor of ANY ship in the game – bow in will not help you

American Battleships

  • Have the best AA in their type
  • Lower tiers are very well armored and can be difficult to citadel but slow
  • Higher tiers are significantly faster with lowered citadels – save for the North Carolina
  • Have access to the unique dispersion module that decrease dispersion by 11% at tiers 9 and 10
  • Are great brawlers due to their excellent guns and turret traverse

German Battleships

  • Are the best rounded battleships of the bunch – can have comparable AA to American or secondaries compared to the Japanese
  • Have turtleback armor scheme making them the best brawlers, particularly with a secondary build – citadels are nearly impossible to hit at close range
  • Have some of the best turret traverse speeds
  • G.K. broadside is tied (with Montana) for the heaviest in the game

British Battleships

  • High penetration HE with high fire chance
  • Lowest HP pool for tier but high tiers get unique Repair Party (super heal)
  • Poorly armored
  • Mediocre AA
  • Very good concealment
  • Short fuse AP makes its use best for cruisers or sub-10km BBs

French Battleships

  • Once above tier V, they become some of the fastest battleships in their tier
  • Tend to have unique quad-gun turrets
  • Decent AA and secondaries – full secondary build can rival the German battleships
  • High tiers can equip the speed boost module

Russian Battleships

  • Heavily armored and well suited for medium range engagements
  • High citadels make giving broadside a bad idea
  • Limited damage control charges with short cool-down makes them quite durable in certain situations
  • Unique accuracy model makes these ships very accurate at close and medium range
  • Very good AA capabilities
  • Tier X République has the fastest reload of any battleship

Carriers

Carriers are the funny bunch among the ship types (in my opinion). Of all the ships, they have the highest potential to be a great asset and force multiplier for a team. Due to their high skill cap however, the breadth of abilities of carrier captains is quite large. As a result, am excellent captain can make all the difference in a game (even post rework). That aside, the type’s pure potential allows them to spot and scout for a team much faster than any destroyer, do moderate but continuous amounts of damage to just about any ship and counter the capabilities of nearly every ship in a game. Though it goes without saying, here are their recommended roles and strengths.

  1. Scouting/Spotting – even without radar, they tend to force destroyers to pop smoke, giving away their position
  2. Damage Dealing – be it alpha or over time
  3. Smoke Clearing – since the CV reworks, an attentive captain can pinpoint a ship firing in smoke and drop their payload either doing damage or forcing them out

Japanese

  • The best alpha strike capabilities for dive bombers due to their AP bombs
  • Excellent damage over time capabilities with their rockets for fire and high flood chance torpedoes

America

  • Good damage over time capabilities
  • Highest alpha for dive bombers
  • Well armored at higher tiers – armored decks can bounce low to medium caliber AP shells

British

  • Unique carpet bombing capabilities increases change of hitting smaller ships or starting multiple fires
  • Torpedo bombers capable of very narrow spreads

Super Heavy Cruisers

These are fairly new to the game and are identified by their large caliber guns, usually 300mm or larger, and their high HP pool. Currently, these only exist in tiers 9 and 10 and can only be obtained by either free XP or special in-game currencies like coal or steel. While they currently or are slated to soon exist in 4 of the 10 ‘nations’ represented in this game, none currently fit a specific niche, though they are inherit many of the traits of the other cruisers from their respective nations. Those qualities are as follows:

Japanese – Yoshino & Azuma

  • Excellent fire chance
  • OK AA
  • Hard hitting torpedoes (Yoshino only)

American – Alaska & Puerto Rico (WiP)

  • Excellent AP pen angles
  • 10km radar with long duration
  • Excellent AA

Russian – Kronshtadt & Stalingrad

  • Hard hitting AP with decent HE
  • Long range short duration radar
  • Decent AA

German – Siegfried (WiP)

  • Battleship (Bismark) guns with 1/4 pen HE
  • German long range (6km) Hydro
  • (Cruiser grade) Turtleback armor scheme
  • Short range, defensive torps

Overview

Hopefully, this little guide will help you better understand what your ship type is best suited for. It is well worth mentioning that these are generalizations, especially for the destroyers and cruisers and the World of Warships Wiki does provide some good information about recommended setups for individual ships. The best resource though, is often the community when questioning how to play an individual ship as opposed to a certain line. It is also worth noting that your overall play style can affect the role selection of a ship but sticking to these guidelines makes you most useful to the team. Your role within your ship can be crucial in the outcome of a battle, but this is a team game and it takes a team to win. Do your part and hopefully the other players understand their individual roles and can fill those positions successfully and correctly. Should that happen, you will likely have a good game. Though this would guarantee a win, this will likely prevent you from being stomped.

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